By: the Common Constitutionalist
It’s funny that for over a century it’s actually a progressive Republican who has led us to elect an even worse Democrat. It’s almost as if it’s the fault of the Republicans that the country is in such poor shape. It’s uncanny how often this has happened.
Just look at the time line and we can plainly this phenomenon. Progressive republican George W Bush led to radical Barack Milhous Obama. Nixon and Ford led to the peanut farming disaster Yimmy Carter. Herbert Hoover led to Franklin Roosevelt and William Howard Taft led to the ruinous regime of Woodrow Wilson, who is still this country’s worst president.
Many believe that Obama has claimed that title but I’m not so sure. I think the tag team of destruction of Taft and Wilson still retain the belt. Obama does come in a close second.
Here is my reasoning.
Let’s look at this in medical or clinical terms. Say a new disease breaks out – Ebola perhaps. As many work on a treatment, many others search for not just a treatment, but a cure – a vaccine perhaps – a way to reverse the affliction.
Now I’m neither a doctor nor a scientist, but I understand that quickest way to finding a cure for a disease is to find where it originated – to find patient number one. Isn’t that what the movie, television and novel medical investigators always say? It must then be true, right?
Well, in this case, it probably is true.
Anyway, the same can be said of the United States. We have been afflicted with the disease of big government progressivism for over a hundred years.
For decades we conservatives have been attempting to treat the progressive symptoms but not the disease itself. The fact is, until Mark Levin wrote “The Liberty Amendments”, no one has suggested going back to the source (a little Matrix reference).
He suggests a Convention of the States to Amend the Constitution, thereby bypassing the federal government altogether. It’s a brilliant idea, being that the feds will NEVER reform themselves. The task is to get 2/3 of the States to call for a convention and then ¾ of the 50 would have to ratify any Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The feds would be powerless to prevent it.
So, in medical terms, who was patient number one (and two)? Where did the “Progressive” disease begin?
To find that, one may look no further back than the 16th and 17th Amendments to the Constitution, to the Taft and Wilson administrations. This is the genesis of modern progressivism.
The passage of both these Amendments is blamed on the Woodrow Wilson administration. To be sure his administration did declare both Amendments to be valid, despite claims of errors in counting the 36 states needed, particularly that of the 36th, West Virginia, but it was the republican Taft administration that pushed the two, and certified the 16th Amendment that gave us the gift of the income tax, in February, 1913, before Wilson took office in March.
The 16th Amendment is most often pointed to as the beginning of the end of true Federalism. True enough, but I contend that the 17th was just as damaging.
The original U.S. Constitution gave state governments a strong voice in the national government by requiring them to select U.S. Senators. They would serve at the pleasure of the state, like state ambassadors to our national or federal government. As ambassadors working in the interest of their states, the Senate provided the state governments the necessary ability to restrict the natural inclination of the national government to expand its power.
This was the fundamental purpose of the Senate: to protect the sovereignty of the states against the encroachment of national government.
Upon ratification of the 17th Amendment everything changed. The Senate became a national office, less beholding to the states and more to the federal government.
Those who understand the system know that, thanks to the 17th Amendment, they don’t have to concern themselves with the states, but have only to influence a mere 275 people, all residing in same place – Washington D.C. (1 President, 5 Supreme Court Justices, 51 (or 60) Senators, and 218 Representatives – a lot easier than 50 states and 300 million people.
If a Convention of the States ever takes place, my suggestion is to cure these two ills and repeal both the 16th and 17th Amendments.